Woman Drops 140lbs Naturally After Ditching the Scales


Lauren Acton was pre-diabetic, with high blood pressure and exercise-induced asthma, and tipped the scales at over 300 pounds—all by the age of 27.

Her transformational weight-loss journey—which saw her shed nearly half her body weight—began under these testing circumstances. But the biggest issue, Acton said, was her mind.

The marketing coordinator, now 31, from Charleston, Illinois, told Newsweek: “I was in a mindset of wanting to punish my body for being big when I first started this journey. I couldn’t stay that way. It wasn’t sustainable.”

Acton volunteers with several youth mentoring programs and said she found herself unable to keep up with the kids. “I was sluggish walking up just a single flight of stairs. I didn’t like the way I felt physically or mentally, and I knew I had to make a change.”

Lauren Acton taking a picture of herself in January of 2020, left, and seen in Los Angeles, California, in April 2023, against the backdrop of the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park.
Lauren Acton

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that those who are overweight or obese have an “increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions,” compared to those with a healthy weight. These conditions can range from all causes of death and coronary heart disease to high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, while obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher, the CDC explains.

A February 2023 study published in the journal Population Studies found that overweight people have a 22 percent higher mortality risk than those who have a healthy weight. Obese populations were found to have as much as double the risk.

The study said: “The mortality consequences of [being] overweight and obesity have likely been underestimated, especially at older ages.”

The Biggest Challenge for Weight Loss

Acton began her weight-loss journey in October 2019 by joining the Weight Watchers program and working out. But the biggest challenge was “keeping the goal in perspective.”

She explained: “Knowing I needed to lose over half my body weight was daunting. It was so easy to be overwhelmed by the goal and lose sight of the everyday progress being made.

“I had to learn the power of a non-scale victory. My clothes fit better, I could take the stairs, I was drinking more water—so many wins that went beyond the scale kept me motivated to reach the scale goals,” she said.

But her mental progress has been the biggest success, Acton added. “I learned to live FROM love and not FOR love. I have to wake up every day and choose to love myself first. From that place of love, I could make healthier choices.”

Lauren Acton pics after weight loss pics.
Lauren Acton in a garden at the University of Illinois in October 2022, and posing in front of a neon sign at the Stoney Clover store in Nashville in February 2023.
Lauren Acton

‘The Key’ to Weight Loss Success

Acton has tried various weight-loss programs, from keto to low carb and intermittent fasting. “You name it, I probably dabbled in it.”

But Weight Watchers was “the key” for Acton that allowed her to find a balance. It helped change “my mindset from restricting foods and punishing my body for getting big to instead learning how to work the foods I love into a healthy and sustainable plan,” she said.

The program has been about learning to love herself “from the inside out and from the outside in” as well as being intentional about what she eats and “living life in a new balance.”

She said: “It’s so hard to summarize how much my weight loss journey has changed my life. I went from over 300 pounds to right about 160—almost half my body weight. I’m much more confident now. My confidence has nothing to do with my size, but with the way I carry a newfound love for myself.”

But Acton’s journey isn’t over yet. Working with her doctor, she’s set a goal of reaching 145 pounds. “I’m content at the size I am now, but I do keep that number in mind. Healthy is my ultimate goal.”

Lauren Acton before/after weight loss pics.
Lauren Acton in the fall of 2019, on a bench on the campus of the University of Illinois, left, and taking a selfie in front of a mirror in May 2023.
Lauren Acton

Top Weight Loss Tips

Acton’s top three tips for weight loss success include “meals, movement and mind.”

  • Meals: Make sure you’re eating well. “Fed and strong is better than skinny and hungry any day of the week. Explore new foods and flavors. Have fun with meals.”
  • Movement: Move your body in the way you love every single day. Be it through a walk, a swim, or a dance class, “you have to move your body.”
  • Mind: Learn to live and view yourself from a perspective of love. “Don’t forget that you are worthy of celebrating at every stage of the journey, not just at the finish line.”

Do you have an incredible weight loss story to share? Send it to [email protected] with some details and your story could be featured in Newsweek.


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